Written by Justine Morrow
Working in bioluminescent and fluorescent tones, JP Morrison Lans depicts a hyperrealism based in the multi layered reality that is our own. Vivid emotional surrealism, a dash of pop art brilliance, strengthened by iconic symbology of our time, as well as esoteric eons long past, the result is an oeuvre that has a striking resemblance to our deep inner world of secrets, desires, traumas, and delights.
Perhaps what makes JP Morrison Lans work so compelling is her style; an approach that is an amalgamation of aesthetics, art movements, and magic. The Realist quality that she uses to depict many a scene, or figurative study, often highlights a surrealism that greatly resonates with the emotional, philosophical events underneath the surface. Take for instance her painting, The Queen of Cups, The Two of Wands: A woman with flickering windows within her body covers the face of another woman whose eyes have replaced her nipples, her mouth resting where her belly button should be. It sounds fantastical, strange…the painting looks as though it were an image torn from the flickering memory of a stress dream. And it’s not just the alluring saturation or the skillfully wielded application of paint and pencil that makes this piece, and many others, so strong. Further, it’s the conceptual underpinnings of such a painting; works of art that pull at every sensory experience of what it means to be human.
Working with symbols such as houses, masks, and the human body itself, JP Morrison Lans creates a world that uses tokens of our familiar surroundings, understandings, and then seamlessly assimilates these ideas to explore deeper meanings inside a hypnagogic dreamland. There are narratives of what it is to be female, what empowerment means, illustrations that murmur with the signs of fear and hopelessness, celebrations of bright organic beauty, and more, but no matter how the paintings or sculptures speak to you, each story hits a mark within. This is a perfect way for an artist to create a collection that reverberates inside as many viewers as possible, and she’s wonderfully aware of it.
In a recent video, released in anticipation of her immersive and exploratory group show, The Experience, held at The Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa, ahha Tulsa, Lans remarked that, “Art should be fun, or at least engrossing to the point where it brings people in who maybe weren’t looking at art much before.” This inclusive working philosophy emboldens, even more, a mass of artworks that speaks volumes both visually and psychologically. “These are pieces of and about the human experience, about the stories we hand down to each other and about the joy of playing make-believe, the fantastic things our imaginations are capable of,” she says.
To mirror the dialectic conceptual conversations Lans has within her work, the mediums and techniques to create said works are of a diverse quality as well. Plaster, wood, cloth, light, sound, colored pencils, vintage wallpaper, gouache; her illustrations can hardly be called so simply 2D… each piece could, in itself, be described as an immersive installation. And it makes sense: if an artist were dutifully, and accurately, depicting the human experience it would almost demand to be made up of all aspects of the visceral life. Emblems of Tarot, constellations alight; JP Morrison Lans uses her vast array of skills to procure a pure connection between the waking world, the dream world, and the spiritual landscape floating between.
Not only are her works, whether drawings, paintings, installations, or all that remains between, fit with a multitude of artistry as well as ingenuity of technique, material, and spatial cognisents cognizance, there is a collaborative element to speak of as well. Not just saved for artists during group shows, or gallery audiences immersed within the glow of Lans’ pieces, she also offers mentorship for other creatives to help guide interests into the depths of authentic expression. Even speaking about The Experience she mentions, “I wanted to share the opportunity of being a part of this with other artists.” It’s this inquisitive nature, a synergetic practice, that is reflected in each of her series to give it the light of life.
JP Morrison Lans has traveled from Detroit to Tulsa, to Queensland, Australia, and back, amassing a steady stream of inspiration. Since first being selected, at the age of sixteen, for a solo show at the Tulsa Artists’ Coalition, Lans has married, had a son, and has also exhibited in a number of shows between the United States and Australia including Black Wallstreet Gallery, The Livings Arts Center of Tulsa, JRB Gallery, and many more. Her pieces have also been included in publications such as Art Focus Oklahoma, and ThisLand Press. Currently working on a collection of pieces that delve into her phychological journey as a woman evolving into motherhood, with many meanings and “prompts” pulling from Tarot symbolism, it seems Lans will continue her conversation with the all connected universal wisdoms. It doesn’t take a wide knowledge of the stars to know that if the finished collection is anything like the poetic chimera we’ve witnessed before, Lans will have no difficulty wrapping us all up in colorful divinations and meditations of life’s artistry.